20-22 September 2017


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Modern Tools for Supporting Innovative Projects

How to create your own business and attract investment for your project? Which support tools is it better to use today? How can startup enter foreign markets? Participants of the IX St. Petersburg International Innovation Forum will answer these and other questions. On the eve of the event, representatives of venture funds and technoparks spoke about modern tools for supporting innovative projects and startups.

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Russian Venture Company has recently analysed innovation support systems in Russia. "We have found several dozens of recently created organizations and institutions," Evgeny Kuznetsov, Acting CEO of Russian Venture Company, said. "Unfortunately, many of them do not cooperate with each other."

Now we are planning to improve interaction between organizations. Russian Venture Company (RVC) is creating a project office for implementation of the National Technology Initiative (NTI) — a long-term strategy for the country's technological development, aimed at shaping new global markets by 2035. As Evgeny Kuznetsov says, it is intended to create venture funds within the framework of NTI, focused on specific areas.

The economy of Russia developed under its own momentum for a long time, the country lacking in entrepreneurial spirit. People are often afraid to run a business. First-time entrepreneurs' and startuppers' confidence in venture business decreased under new economic conditions. "That's why we hope to receive substantial administrative support," Evgeny Kuznetsov said. "Entrepreneurs, particularly those involved in the technology sector, must feel that they are treated as key market players, on which the survival and growth of the economy depend. It is also necessary to create additional governmental support programs for startups. It will facilitate their growth to the level of globally competitive companies."

There is hardly any doubt about the need to support business startups. Experts note that new initiatives are required now to create a favourable environment for innovative businesses. Polina Lukyanova, Director of Ingria Business Incubator, explains that all support programs should be coordinated with each other and with those who implement the programs.

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"Startup is only a venture industry term, which means a stage in development of a small enterprise. In developed countries, tax revenues raised from small businesses make up about half of the budget, the figure in our country being approximately 10%, while the structure of assistance in the economy benefits larger-scale taxpayers," Mikhail Rayak, Director of 'Politechnicheski Technopark, remarked. "However there are some changes for the better now. There already exists a full-cycle support system for first-time entrepreneurs, for example, RVC and Skolkovo Foundation. More importantly, this system changes in accordance with the market reality."

There are some financial assistance programs in St. Petersburg for compensating incurred expenses and subsidizing small and medium businesses. "The Committee for Entrepreneurship and Consumer Market Development implements support programs via multiple funds and structures that provide businesses with consulting and policy advice," Mikhail Rayak explains. "For example the Centre for Entrepreneurship Development and Support organized a hot line via which anyone can get detailed clarifications on any issue. The infrastructure of St. Petersburg includes all possible types of support, and the only thing that beginner entrepreneurs need to do is putting the tool to good use."

St. Petersburg Technopark and Ingria Business Incubator have proved to be efficient tools for supporting small innovative business.

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"The main task is to create high-tech businesses to drive regional and national economies. At Ingiria level, companies can check their business model, find investors, clients and partners, test their new niches and markets. At further stages, they can engage in cluster projects and scale up," Polina Lukyanova said. "Our experts have experience in working with both industrial projects and youth or student startups. Many of Ingiria-resident startups, which offer ready-to-use non-standard solutions, are successfully entering Russian and foreign markets. For example, the developer of the educational robotic system based on Scratch programming language and Arduino microcontroller (ScratchDuino project) was awarded Google RISE Awards. In 2015, this developer won the annual "Best Exporter of the Year" competition in "Breakthrough of the Year" nominated category. Not only major players win on the innovation market. The one who acts fast and does not miss the chance always wins."

"Higher Educational Institutions also play a prominent role, along with the governmental support. Most successful startups arise at the confluence of science and business activities," Mikhail Rayak said. "With a stable cluster in its innovation ecosystem, the city annually generates a large number of competitive companies. However, it is necessary to maintain stability on a small and medium-sized businesses market. We should increase attractiveness of business as a professional occupation, therefore making maximum efforts to assist the most active beginning businessmen."

The St. Petersburg International Innovation Forum is one of the tools for promotion and support of pioneering projects and businesses. In 2016, the event will take place at the same site as the "Russian Industrialist" 20th International Forum, and its business program will be focused on practical industrial and business solutions.

"During the TTD Presentation Session, startups will introduce their designs and products for modern metropolises to the leading industrial companies," Polina Lukyanova said. "During the Investment Session, the Ingria Business Incubator will hold individual negotiations between IT-startups and representatives of venture funds. Such sessions result both in new transactions and demonstration of capabilities and competitive advantages of technical innovations."